Now September is coming, school has started, and we’re weeks away from cool weather. Now school supply lists and clothes shopping are a thing of the past just in time for new stressors. Family gatherings, holidays, and travel are all part of the fall and winter months, but it doesn’t have to be as “cringey” this year.

You can control your home and your life through the school year and the holidays when you take control now.

1. Start a routine.

I struggled for years as a young wife and mother to keep my home clean and organized. Part of the reason was being raised in a house where my grandmother did much of the housekeeping behind-the-scenes. My brothers and I did other types of work around the “farm” and didn’t contribute to daily upkeep. I remember hanging clothes on the line, but never putting them away. I remember washing farm fresh eggs, but never dishes. The routine in the house was that Granny did all the necessary daily tasks, and we did what we were told when we were told.

Suddenly when I had my own household, no one told me what to do, so it went undone. Now, with three children and over a decade of marriage under my belt, I understand that everything I want or need done in the house will only be done if it’s part of a routine.

2. Simplify your space.

Anyone who has a big house can tell you the first thing to make sure everything has a place! If you have enough stuff to fill your house, make sure you have enough storage for the stuff you have. Through the process of simplifying and decluttering, you may find you have too much stuff and not enough space.

Everything in your home needs a clearly defined place. Store everything in the place where it’s used. If the kids play with puzzles at the dining room, store puzzles in the dining room. If the toys are used most in the living room, store them there. If you only where shoes outside, store them near the door! Sometimes the smartest plan is the most obvious.

3. Organize your time.

If you mismanage your time, you definitely won’t get any of your tasks done–let alone the “me time” you so desperately want. Setting a routine is the first step to organizing your time. By simplifying your life you will decrease the time it takes to manage your home. The last step is to organize your time.

You may need to focus your screen time, work tasks, and everything else in your life to better organize your time. Buy a planner or set reminders on your phone to make sure tasks are done at the best time. Instead of trying to fit your life into a whole new schedule, set a schedule to fit your life! There are times during the day when you naturally do things. There are times you naturally wake up, eat, spend time with the kids, get laundry and sweeping done, even spend intimate moments with your spouse. Observe your own habits over several days and then make your schedule reflect what you already do.

4. Delegate extra tasks.

Once you have a routine, a simplified house, and a common-sense schedule, you should be able to determine what tasks you cannot manage without help. This is when you delegate them to someone else! If you’re married, ask your husband to pick up some of these things. If you have kids and they’re old enough to help out, figure out which tasks they can accomplish on their own. Don’t give them tasks that you have to help them with.

It may be that you have no one to help at all, but if you have the money you can hire someone to do them. Depending where you live, there may be laundry services, housekeeping services, babysitting services, and more. If you are a caregiver to an elderly adult or co-parent children with other families, you can ask for help with certain tasks from family members. The important thing to remember is you’re not in this alone. Sometimes the old adage is true: it takes a village.

5. Don’t fall behind.

Once you have a routine figured out and your house is decluttered and in order, the key is to never fall behind. Sometimes you can’t help it and there is an emergency. The key to not getting too far behind when something unexpected comes up is not getting behind in the first place. When a planned event is likely going to put you behind, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. When you’re sick, ask the family to pick up the slack. When you miss completing a task, make sure it’s the next thing you do.

If you fall way behind, do the most common sense tasks first and then do something extra until you’re all caught up.

Most of all, give yourself grace. Enjoy your home.